Ahead of Rafa Benitez’ crucial meeting with Mike Ashley, Alan Shearer has been talking about what needs to happen.

The United legend saying that Ashley clearly agreed to Rafa’s budget demands last summer – but doubts whether these next talks will have a similarly happy outcome.

Alan Shearer says that the club he supports is ‘at a crossroads’ and that yet again, he thinks Mike Ashley might take a wrong turn.

The former Newcastle striker saying ‘What evidence is there’ that Ashley is going to change now?

Shearer says that his worries started when promotion happened against Preston and when asked, Rafa Benitez refused to say he was definitely staying on Tyneside.

He believes that the Newcastle Manager will not allow himself to be made a fool of and let the owner short change him, leading to going into the Premier League with a team.squad that is sure to struggle.

To prevent that happening, Alan Shearer believes that at least eight new players are needed and that Mike Ashley must make at least £150m available this summer.

That figure is crazy but that is football now and by making that investment now, the following seasons may not need early as much if you get the right players in.

When you see clubs like Palace paying out £30m on one player (Benteke), that is the reality of what is needed just to try and compete for mid-table.

Newcastle United recently revealed that Rafa Benitez had generated a £40m transfer profit last summer and with £10m to come for Thauvin and very likely £20m to £30m to be generated from player sales this summer, you are well on the way to covering over half of that £150m figure, before you get to the £100m+ that Newcastle will get via Premier League TV cash.

For once, Mike Ashley has to see the need for allowing big money to be spent up front when the club is on the rise, rather than waiting for near disaster and then allowing the cash to be spent to try and rescue a dire situation – as happened in the 2015/16 relegation season.

Alan Shearer speaking to The Sun:

“Newcastle are at a crossroads and I’m not convinced Mike Ashley will take the right turn.

“What evidence is there that he is going to change now?

“He clearly acceded to some of Rafa Benitez’s demands last summer, which is why he stayed on to get Newcastle back up…but it is a different ball game now.

“As soon as promotion was confirmed and Rafa refused to commit his future to Tyneside, I had to worry.

“Quite simply, he needs about eight new players just to turn Newcastle into a mid-table Premier League team.

“Benitez won’t want to go into next season knowing he has a squad only good enough for a relegation scrap. He won’t have it.

“There is a huge opportunity here for Newcastle to establish themselves again as a top-flight force.

“But he now needs, at the minimum, a £150million investment in new players.

“And I am not convinced that will happen.”



  • Jezza

    There is a grim air of inevitability about this situation.

  • Paul Patterson

    I’m not sure £150m is needed. You can’t just go out and replace 10 players. I think four will be ok, six would be great. Any more and you just over-complicate the situation.
    A striker, centre back, creative attacking midfielder and a left winger are priority. If you can tag a couple of full backs on there, then great.
    I’m not saying that there are players that aren’t good enough for the Premier League in our squad, but you can’t do it all at once.

    • Burt Humperdink

      Spot on.

  • SH.ER

    He’s only saying what he’s hoping for & what we’re all also hoping for
    sadly that will never ever happen …
    We’ve just had a season in the championship so there is no EPL TV & Prize money
    let’s just get realistic here & don’t exaggerate
    there’s the financial fair play rules, it will never allow us to spend £150m
    we don’t have a mega deal with a worldwide sponsor, £150m is the type of budget
    Liverpool & Arsenal can afford not us
    & then there is the greedy owner, we don’t know yet what he’ll say to Benitez
    My guess is the budget will be something between £50m & £70m

    • Jezza

      I can tell you now the budget will be a figure that does not exceed what ever amount they bring in from player sales.

      • bobbi fleckman

        Can we have that bet?

        Double or quits we spend more than we get in transfers out?

        • Jezza

          I’ll tell you what I’ll do. For every £10 million of net spend NUFC make in the summer transfer window, I will donate a Quid to any non political/non military charity of your choice.

          • bobbi fleckman

            Good sport! Okaydoke, for every £10 million player trading profit we make in the summer 17 window, I will donate a quid to a military / political (non Labour) charity of your choice.

          • bobbi fleckman

            You know, I think you may win this one. If I were Rafa I’d bring in Carrick, John Terry and Davide Santon all on a free or little money but of course huge wages. Add Atsu and a striker such as Remy or Gray as well as Crouch and we’ve not spent much in transfers.

  • S.G.M.

    Ashley has always spent money in the past, just not very well, that will now change .
    There’s the profit from player sales last summer.
    Prize money from this season.
    Any cash raised from player releases this summer.
    And hopefully 30mill out of the back pocket.
    4 players will do for me.

    • Paul Patterson

      Totally agree. Talk of a whole team of players is madness. 4 is an ok figure, more would be welcome of course but we have plenty squad men, just a few big players for the first eleven so we don’t have to rely on the squad men week in week out will do.

    • Leazes Ender

      Ashley has allowed the club to spend some of its own money…. ‘some of it’….. he’s milked the club of its advertising revenue and harnessed a sponsor that nobody wanted on their shirt resulting in a decline in income!

      I do wish people would stop saying Ashley has spent money…. it isn’t true!

      • TheNutJob

        not a penny has spent by Ashley, you are spot on

      • bobbi fleckman

        You are right in that the club spend it’s own money but the club appears to have borrowed money to pay for this season. ashley has made this money available.

  • Jimblag23

    Not in a month of Sundays Alan.

  • Johno

    If Rafa goes Ashley will be sorry – and Rafa – he’ll get a top job the next day…..

  • Desree

    150m on 8 players. Thats nearly 20m per player. What a donut.

  • HenrySlade

    Alan Shearer has got an axe to grind when comes to Ashley – Ashley didn’t retain him as manager when he took Newcastle down. Reading between the lines, I think that Shearer would love to see Rafa walk out on us, but I don’t reckon that’ll happen.

    However, a fall-out between Rafa and Ashley is probably inevitable, but it probably won’t happen until either Christmas, or the end of next season.

    • Albert Stubbins

      Shearer would like to see Rafa walk because he’s got an axe to grind with Fat Mike? He’s not 12 – Shearer is a supporter like us and wants the best for the club.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        you are right there Albert

  • Lord

    £150m is stupid and would end up violating Fair Play rules due to our hopeless lack of commercial activity outside match day. Only Man C and Man U spent over that amount last season and they recouped a fair bit in sales. Even Chelsea ‘only’ spent about £110m.

    Take a look at last year’s spend and you’d think £70m is about average spend for a mid table club with the strugglers spending around £30m – £40m.

    We definitely need to break our transfer record though – buying the odd player for £12-£15m isn’t going to cut it when looking to strengthen – particularly up front.

    • TheNutJob

      I`m sure they`d find a way around the rules

      • Alex

        They did, but then HMRC heard about it. Allegedly.

  • Andy Mac

    Not only is AS overhyping the money needed he’s also looking at the squad as if it needs a complete overhaul. Let’s not forget, albeit in the early days of the PL, that KK spent very little on players when we went up. Beardo, Mike Hooper and then Ruel Fox and Darren Peacock in the latter part of the season were the only ones to cost over £500k. Total spend around £7m. Likewise Hoots spent very little although arguably he had a better squad

    Fast forward to summer and IMO if we bought Gylfi/Boudebouz for £15m, Josh King for £18m, Maguire for £15m and Atsu £6m. With loans for Fosu-Mensah and Abraham and Arma, Mbabu and Krul returning plus Aarons back from long term injury we could then offload Sels, Darlow, Anita, Gamez, Lazaar, Goof, Diame, Hanley, Colback and Murphy. Net spend around £40m ?

    That would be more than enough for a mid table place at the end of the season

  • TheNutJob

    Has Wor Al been on the drink, £150m off Despicable Me, not a chance !

  • TheNutJob

    the days are gone of cheap players, Sky & Bt have put paid to that & clubs such as Palace are spending £30m on one player, Bournemouth are about to bid £25m for a keeper, that is the real world, a one Ashley won`t accept, i expect a summer of DOOM

  • Mal

    Shearer is way out on this occasion. No way will £150 million be made available and quite honestly I don’t think most supporters would expect such a figure to be sanctioned. I’m hoping that Rafa is given enough to begin to strengthen the squad and give him enough to put up a reasonable show next season but it’s unlikely that he’s going to be able to do what he did last year and have a complete overhaul – he won’t have the same amount of money from big sales and his buys will be on average much more expensive. This is going to have to be a longer term plan. Hopefully Ashley will give him the reassurances that persuade him that he will be given the resources and control which will enable him to carry it out, but unfortunately you never know with our unpredictable owner. I think it’s 50/50 whether Rafa’s here next season.

  • 1957

    Everyone knows Benitez won’t get £150m to spend and even with my pessimistic view of the strength of our squad I don’t think we need that much to haul ourselves above the relegation zone into mid or lower mid table. £80m to £100m would bring in 4 or 5 quality players and that’s what we need for me. If Benitez’s bottom line is Shearer’s figure he clearly has another job lined up and wants to go.

    Shearer’s written and tv / radio musings are appearing more and more bitter, his desperation for Benitez to leave, and for an uprising against Ashley, is obvious.

    My final thought if you gave Shearer £150m to spend and Benitez £100m to spend who would get best value for money and results…my money is on our present leader.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Big Al`s pulling everyone`s plonka, he knows what he say`s will be printed & the Fat Guy will be informed, he`s hoyed 150 mill into the mix in the hope fatso will come up with 100m for Rafa
    he`s not trying to undermine Rafa

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    there`s 40m floating around somewhere, the parachute payment due in the summer is around another 50 mill, then theres the upcoming fire salle of the dross, so at the end of the day 100m is not out of the question, is it

    • Lord

      That £40m will be floating away to Mike – I am pretty sure we will hear before long that we had a shortfall of £30-£40m by dropping down to the Championship and that transfer profit will have been used to ‘balance the books’. Charnley mentioned a £30m shortfall twice in his cover note for FY15/16.

    • bobbi fleckman

      That’s right NNM (or is it Leazesl?) the £40m was all paid up front and the players and staff agreed to play for most all season because we were out of the big league.

      8 players and £150m is a bit of an insult to those players who got us promoted (&champions?). We need a minimum of 3 players in and those leaving will not generate as much. That in may raise a good few quid, Krul (if sold) also but the others are going for free.

    • Polarboy

      The parachute payment is only worth 20-30 million. We’ll have only gotten the first payment, the other two payments will be shared out to championship teams no we’ve gone up first time of asking.

  • GeordieZebra

    Good lad Al. Throw out a daft number, might move FCB’s expectation up from the sub £50m he is likely planning…

  • Burt Humperdink

    This is definitely a little high to say the least but as Michael Moose says he is probably shooting for the moon to hit the stars. There’s no way Mike Ashley would give that much nor would Rafa or even the fans expect it.

    One factor that might not have been mentioned is players who’s contracts are up and potential loans. I do believe Charlie Taylor of Leeds left back fame is out of contract. Also Loftus Cheek might be an option on a year long loan and would be worth it.

    Wer’e not going to move on ten players and bring 8 in, nobody ever does that it causes poor morale. Moving on 7-8 and bringing in 5-6 is more realistic. SO by that token at least 1 full back, 1 strong centre back, 1 additional creative central midfielder, 1 winger and 1 prem quality striker. With the hope of a better defensive midfielder.

    • Leazes Ender

      I nearly gave you a mark up…. fortunately I read it in time.

  • Lord

    Rivière coming back from loan will be like a new signing, so we can drop down Al’s figure to £149.8m

    • Andy Mac

      How do you solve a problem like Manu ? (with apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein) especially if he’s just been relegated with Osasuna ?

      • Stephen Paylor

        He is a confidence player, you dont represent france at u21 unless you have something. I think Rafa should bring him back and restore his confidence, if we gave him that chance as fans he could come good for us. He has alot of ability i used to watch him in France but playing in weak teams since he left Monaco has left him looking poor and short on confidence

        • bobbi fleckman

          He was good at Monaco, no doubt about it.

  • Polarboy

    I’m not convinced Al is advocating for the entire 150 million to be spent in the summer. I think he means that 150 million needs to be spent over a few transfer windows to cement our place as a competing force in the top half of the league. Notice that he says we need eight players just to be mid table, but then refers to us being a premier league force when he mentions the 150 million figure.

    • Andy Mac

      I think there’s a danger that some fans will take that headline as gospel according to St Alan of Gosforth ?

      No team arriving in the PL has ever spent more than £70m and that was Watford apparently ? I think there’s room for four new quality players in key positions (Striker, No 10, DM and CB) but ideally I’d like a few more if they represent value for money ?

  • Big Al 1967

    Legend as a player but a sh&te as a pundit.

  • Stephen Paylor

    The reality is that the club even with a net transfer gain last year will have operated at either break even or a loss last year as a result of relegation and reduced revenue. Rafa was able to reduce the wage bill which has helped but i can not imagine Ashley will overly look to burden the club with too much more debt. I think next years (yes next years)surplus will be maybe 50 million positive and that is the amount i expect Rafa will be offered. If he recoups 20 million in sales then a total spend of 70 million. 4 players out (Mitrovic/Sels/Ameobi/Haidara) and 4 players in for 70 million (average 17 million each). Mid table the aim